Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has warned his players to be wary of Manchester United’s ability to win penalties when the two meet in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
The Red Devils have won a staggering 13 penalties in the Premier League this term, equalling the record for the number to one team in a campaign, and have been on the receiving end of a few favourable VAR decisions since the restart.
The Blues themselves have conceded two spot-kicks in their three meetings with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season and when asked about the threat of the United players inside the area, Lampard replied: “They [his players] have to be careful because when players of such high level, quality and speed of the United forwards travel quickly, you have to move your feet and not dive in on them.
“That’s an important part of defending at any point in time, but especially when you understand the qualities of the opposition with players like that. And [Bruno] Fernandes, to be fair, because he’s very clever in his movement,” he added, quoted by The Telegraph.
Bruno has enjoyed a majestic run of form since his January arrival, securing back-to-back Player of the Month awards, and he himself has converted four spot-kicks – with his earning of a penalty at Aston Villa drawing particular controversy and debate.
Lampard added: “We saw that at Aston Villa, to make something feel like a penalty where maybe it even isn’t. The players don’t have to give that. We can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong, but if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet, then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”
Nevertheless, Chelsea will be looking to secure their first win over United this season. So far, the Red Devils have ousted the Blues twice in the league and also knocked them out of the Carabao Cup back in October.
Lampard though, said he wasn’t into “revenge” and added that he “just wants to win the game that is in front of us against a very good team” with a place in the FA Cup final on the line.